Instead of lugging around expensive equipment to shoot video footage, why not use the device you always have with you - your phone? Believe it or not, you can create high-quality content with a few simple tricks and techniques without relying on complex cameras and extra lighting.
Mobile phones come with so many great features, but the significant improvement in camera quality over the years often goes unnoticed. Instead of purchasing additional cameras and accessories, follow these simple tricks to elevate your video quality and create engaging content on a budget quickly and easily.
Getting ready to roll
Before clicking the red button, it's best to have a solid concept of what you want to record and how you wish to portray the scene. Regardless of if you shoot with your phone or the latest video camera, starting with a strategy is essential if you want a high-quality outcome. Plus, a good plan makes the filming process much more efficient. A good approach should involve developing a storyboard or checklist of shots, scripting your talking points, and thinking about the different camera perspectives needed.
Tips for recording on your phone
1. Clean your lens
Sounds simple but smudges and fingerprints on your lens can really impact the quality of your video. Take a microfiber cloth and give it a quick clean before filming.
2. Use the sun
The best light source for filming is the sun! To avoid quality loss and lens flaring, strive to shoot video footage in brightly lit areas. Adequate lighting is crucial and holds a high spot on the checklist for quality content. However, it's important to position the camera away from direct light sources such as lamps, overhead lights and most importantly, the sun, to avoid overexposed footage.
The hour before sunset or after sunrise is known as the golden hour for a reason - the light is softer and more flattering. Try and utilize this natural source as much as possible!
3. Stabilize your phone
Shaky footage is difficult to watch and can make your video look unprofessional. There's nothing worse than becoming dizzy after watching a poorly shot video. It may sound simple but use both hands when shooting a video with your mobile device to produce steadier footage.
If you still find you have an unsteady grip, consider purchasing a tripod or using a makeshift tripod by using household items like books or a water bottle.
4. Shoot in landscape mode
Our natural inclination is to hold our phones vertically, but turning your phone horizontally will give you a wider frame and a more cinematic look. Not only does landscape enhance the quality, but it also fits more into the frame and is formatted at the same ratio as TVs and laptops.
However, this rule does not apply to filming TikToks as the social platform formats videos exclusively vertically.
5. Understand the Rule of Thirds
One of the most effective ways to create proper images and videos is by practicing the “Rule of Thirds
." The rule of thirds is a guideline in photography and design that suggests dividing an image into thirds horizontally and vertically, resulting in nine equal parts. While not a hard and fast rule, the four points where the lines intersect is the most visually appealing areas to place the image's main subject.
This technique is used to create a more balanced and visually interesting composition. What’s great is that most cell phones now even have a feature in their camera settings that adds the grid directly onto the screen while filming.
6. Avoid zooming
If you've ever been to a concert, you've likely taken a video where you zoom in as far as possible to capture the musicians on stage. However, looking back, the recording is incredibly blurry. When you zoom in on a video, you're essentially enlarging the pixels of the image, which can reduce the overall quality and clarity of the video. In scenarios where you need to zoom in significantly, it's best to use a camera with an optical zoom feature rather than a digital zoom feature. This is one of the few unfortunate drawbacks of our handy pocket camera.
Instead of pinching the screen to get close, you'll physically have to move in to position the phone near the subject to capture a clean and focused video.
7. Remember audio
Up until now, we've focused on the visual aspects, but we all know there's more to capturing a qualty video. Audio is just as important as optical quality. Most mobile phones have built-in microphones that help sync the sound with the video. To produce seamless audio, find a quiet location to film with little ambient noise and avoid windy areas. Additionally, get as close to the sound source as possible to help reduce background noise and improve audio clarity.
If you find your phone's microphone is inadequate and want to elevate the quality, you can purchase an external mic to assist the sound receiver. After you've completed filming, you can also use video editing software to adjust the audio levels, remove background noise and enhance the overall sound quality of your recordings.
8. Use built-in editing tools
Most smartphones come with basic editing tools. Use these tools to clean up your footage by trimming clips, adjusting brightness, contrast and saturation levels; you can even edit in music or subtitles. They also have built-in features like slow motion, time-lapse and hyper-lapse. Experiment with these to add interest and variety to your footage.
However, don't let the variety of features on your mobile device intimidate you; take advantage of them to create compelling videos to captivate your viewers. Unleash your creativity by trying out new ideas and tools. You'll be amazed at what you can produce when you combine a little bit of imagination and the capabilities of your smartphone.
What settings can I alter to ensure better video quality?
Altering camera settings on your phone can help you capture better quality photos and videos. Within your settings, you should be able to choose an option that may be titled something along the lines of “Photos & Camera” where you can make these changes.
- Adjust the exposure: Most smartphone cameras have an exposure control that lets you adjust the brightness of the image. Depending on the lighting conditions, you can use this to make the image brighter or darker.
- Change the resolution: Higher-resolution images and videos will have more detail and clarity, but they will also take up more space on your phone. You can adjust the resolution in your camera settings to balance quality and storage space. Common video resolutions are 30 fps and 60 fps.
- Use HDR mode: HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode can help you capture more detail in high-contrast scenes, such as landscapes with bright skies and dark shadows. This mode takes multiple photos at different exposures and combines them into one image with better detail.
- Adjust the focus: Most smartphone cameras have an autofocus feature that automatically focuses on the subject. However, you can also tap on the screen to manually adjust the focus and ensure that the subject is in focus.
- Use the flash wisely: The flash can be helpful in low-light situations but can also cause harsh shadows and overexposure. As mentioned earlier, use natural light whenever possible, and only use the flash when necessary.
The Pocket Videographer
Creating quality video content goes a long way in connecting with your audience, and with the convenience and accessibility of mobile video making, you have the power to tell your unique stories and share them with the world.
Mastering the art of mobile filmmaking is within your reach; just follow these guidelines, and you can unlock the full potential of your device and capture stunning footage that rivals professional productions. So, grab your phone, apply these tips and let your creativity soar as you embark on your mobile filmmaking adventure.
Are you still struggling with the quality and execution of your footage? Here at thunder::tech, we have a social media team
with the experience to assist you with any video production and content-creating needs you may come across. Send us a message today!